I’m a nice guy, sometimes. Recently a reporter from the Winnipeg Free Press caught me interacting with A. on one of his less sober days. He’s a man who hangs out outside the Drag most days, coming in for soup, coffee and to ask everyone working if they can buy him a veggie burger. I have an okay history with him. He’s a nice man and thusly we haven’t had an conflicts really aside from a few times of him being rude to others and me hearing about it.
Last week he came in pretty drunk and asked for food which I said I’d make for him if he’d have a seat. He sat down at a table already occupied by two small timid looking women who were frightened. I walked over and offered him a coffee if he’d come outside with me and that was about it. There was a woman from the free press watching this and she wrote an article about it.
I don’t know how I feel about it really. Had it not been Mondragon related I wouldn’t have called her back when R. told me she had asked to speak with me. I don’t feel that it’s news worthy, being nice. Treating someone with respect be it a stranger, a homeless person or any of the bourgeois who come and have lunch at our restaurant everyday isn’t something worthy of praise. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
I get it, to the majority of people the idea of a server / business owner treating someone like A. as if they were human is abnormal. Maybe having words in the paper about how we consider that to be the way it should be is a good thing. But this article is a touch over-flattering of us and totally a bit demonizing of A. and street people as a whole. I don’t want to spit in the face of someone appreciating the work we do but it would be dishonest if I wasn’t critical of it as well.
Let me clear up a few points. A. is not damaged and I am also not always gentle with him or other street people or anyone for that matter. He’s not an animal and I am not jesus christ. The street folk who come in to the Mondragon probably don’t forget what time we give out soup, they’re capable of remembering. I just think that when they’re hungry they don’t care if it’s 3pm or 9pm, which is fair they want soup now. It’s also fair when we’re too busy for us to say no and to ask them to come back later, which I do.
I enjoyed reading it and I always love having our picture in the paper. I’ve had a few dozen people come up to me in the past few days calling me “nice guy” or a saint or claiming the author has a crush on me, haha. I suppose the whole thing needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
If you would like to read the article you can CLICK HERE!
Either way, a half page on the 2nd page of the Free Press is publicity we could never afford. So, I guess being nice does pay off sometimes.